If you have browsed any 360 Modena listings lately (and let’s be honest; who hasn’t?), then I am sure you have noticed the enormous premium the Challenge Stradale models are commanding over the base Modena. Sure, they look a little spiffier than your run-of-the-mill Modena, but the very modest 25bph improvement over the standard car can seem a little hard to swallow when you are looking at a £100,000 or even £130,000 hike over the base model. I mean, £5,200 per horsepower?! That would be a steep price hike if the added power is all you are getting, but obviously there is a lot more going on here than a simple power increase, so let’s find out exactly what separates the base 360 Modenas from the Challenge Stradale.
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Originally sold in 2003 at a £30,000 premium over the base 360 Modena, the Challenge Stradale’s designers focused more on handling and weight reduction than on raw power, although plenty of owners have suggested that Ferrari might have been a tad conservative on their power estimates for the car. And when I say conservative, I mean by a factor of about 3. Still, the official ratings for the Challenge Stradale’s tweaked version of the Modena’s 3.6-litre engine are 425 horsepower and 373 N-m of torque.
As with the F50 and Enzo, but unlike any other mid-level Ferrari model before it, the Challenge Stradale (CS) was designed specifically for track duty. Inspired by the actual race cars Ferrari was producing at the time, specifically the 360 Modena Challenge, the CS came standard with carbon-ceramic brakes and an F1 gearbox. Throttle response and steering feel were crisper. Weight was drastically reduced by up to 110 kg by using lighter parts for the bumper, seats, mirrors, and windows. These engineering efforts contributed to an improvement of nearly .5 seconds in the car’s 0 – 100 km/h performance, and a 3.5-second quicker lap time around Fiorano. It’s clear then that Ferrari put a lot of work into making the Challenge Stradale stand out from the base 360 Modena. Few parts of the car were left untouched as the engineers fine-tuned, sharpened, and lightened the car, turning it into a precision track instrument unlike anything the world had seen before from Ferrari.
What it comes down to is what you are looking for. The 360 Modena is the type of car you can use everyday. It will handle traffic, daily commutes, and even the trip to the local Walmart if needed. It’s the type of car you can appreciate and others around you will appreciate you too.
But the 360 Challenge Stradale is built for those days where you want to head out to your favourite roads, and attack corner after corner to hit that apex just right. You want to hear the exhaust of the CS boucing off the mountain walls. Whether anyone sees or hears you do it or not is irrelevant. It’s all about you, and not them.
Images Copyright of Ferrari SPA & Dick Lovett